Friday, 22 November 2013

A November Afternoon - Remembering


November views of our beautiful Devon countryside in and around Killerton this afternoon where we walked through swathes of fallen beech leaves and along slippery red clay paths.

Better than shopping.

Today is the anniversary of the death of our pussy cat, Flapjack. We walk and talk about him and remember his sweet face and all the joy he brought us for 16 years..... and let the sadness and regret of his last months slip into the tall trees above us.

Last post for a while....I'm going to Portugal with my sisters at the end of next week...leaving my husband in the company and care of my dear, generous brother-in-law.

And feeling the need to re-think this blog......perfect place to do that under warm blue skies where according to a local resident it's the place where God lives!

Thursday, 21 November 2013



Wells, Somerset....

Algarve, Portugal

Rocamadour, SW France

Today I shop all day
Till my feet hurt in my unloved boots
And my shoulders ache from carrying bulging baskets.

A grey skinned Crown Prince Squash and eggs in the farmers' market.
A 2014 diary and coloured pens in WH Smith.
Slipper socks, a Church candle, a brownie tin in TKMAXX.
Baked beans, grapefruit, olive oil in Sainsbury's.
Smoked salmon, dark chocolate and whole almonds in Aldi....
just for example.

Some things are on the list, 3 lists actually,
And some things aren't.

I suddenly discover I need all these things I'd forgotten about till I see them.... I haven't been shopping for so long....
Bright.... sparkly..... soft.... useful..... or  replacements.... or little gifts....... Christmas coming....the next birthday..... spilling off the shelves like a cascade of musical notes playing my favourite songs...

Pulling me in.....till my purse is empty and the boot of my car is full.

As if I didn't have anything to do with it.

And now to find somewhere to put it all....

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pictures of Love

Pictures of love 

 In the office of our nice young Clinical Psychologist my husband talks about death. It preoccupies him a lot these days. He says he sees pictures in his mind  - imagines me dying, his family dying, his own death, his funeral and what people would say about him. How painful it is. When we were on holiday he was so afraid I would slip off the edge of the cliff  - or he would. He says he wouldn't want to go that quickly. Hugs seem to be a better solution than talking about it.

I don't really think that much about it. It's the living that preoccupies me. How to do it well  - get some kind of balance instead of all this wobbling I do.....see-sawing between love and fear....

Today, while the wind and rain slashed against the windows I sat in the company of some dear friends and in the company of Shirley Maclaine watching 'Out On A Limb' -  the film of her journey into the question of Is there more than this?  And if so what is it? 

And much later  I sat with 20 other people and listened to the moving story of another dear friend and her journey into the Light too.

You can find her at

It was nice to come home tonight out of the coldness and the wetness and sit with a cup of hot cocoa made with creamy coconut milk...... and let all the pictures of love from today settle in my heart.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Comfort Zone

The moon this morning just after sunrise...

Making soup....

with two different squashes ....this one is my favourite... Crown Prince.

I wanted to give up blogging last night....writing too late....nothing to say really... except what feels like  complaining...feeling lost to myself....

Then I saw the moon over the garden this morning and wanted to capture it....and share it.

In the deep of the night we both woke up to a big noise....a bang ....almost like a gunshot...and later another smaller noise.... I thought it was outside.....and then sank back into sleep. 

As soon as I opened my eyes this morning I saw the meaning of the bang. The large beech framed mirror on the wall had slipped off its hook, crashed down behind the chest of drawers, scarring the front of the frame, gouging a long gash in the sea green wallpaper, skewering the wall socket out of its place, cracking the plaster round the edge.

The nails in the picture hook were broken in half. I wondered why now....why did the mirror fall at that moment when it has been up securely for ten years?

Maybe everything has its time to let go.

I loved being alone in the warmth of the kitchen this morning, winter sun streaming in, making two pots of spicy coconut squash soup for the ones I love....back in my comfort zone... snug as a seed in the centre of an orange fleshed squash........ being what I do best....

Monday, 18 November 2013


 View of the moon ( and telephone wire) tonight from our front garden.

Today I tangle myself up in a net of stress about our finances.  I sit next to my husband at his computer and we tick off each transaction or put question marks next to it and I say,

You mustn't do any transfers without talking to me first.

He says he won't.

I feel as if I'm grappling a giant octopus which keeps slipping and curling out of reach.....its one big eye glaring at me as I wrest one tentacle at time from its comfortable rock - gathering it up into a new home.

  I'm its reluctant new home.....which leaves my husband standing at the gate.....without the role he's always had....but still fighting for a few tentacles of his own....

Friday, 15 November 2013

From The Heart

Firm heart of a cauliflower....

I don't put the lights on tonight when I walk into the kitchen which smells of our haddock, garlicky aubergine and tomato supper. I hear a sound at the back door and jump, letting out a scream when I see my husband through the glass, coming in from the garden with a torch. I thought he was upstairs. I know it's him but my body's adrenaline imagines something else.

 He's been in the shed spraying his newly painted ceramic models with a strong smelling polyurethane varnish. He's racing against the clock to get them finished by tomorrow when we are going to take them into the studio to set up his exhibition for next week - thirty five of them. He's not racing actually -  that's what I'd be doing. He's calm and methodical.

When the nice Community Psychiatric Nurse comes this afternoon my husband doesn't recognise him or understand most of what he says.  He brings a form to fill in called ABOUT ME which is to help someone understand his condition and what he needs if he has to go into hospital. He say's it'll make us look very switched on. It feels far away in a distant future and unreal to me. I'd be with him if he had to go to hospital.

The CPN also says that the fact my husband is walking, and engaging with creative pursuits, and inter-acting socially will protect him from depression. Although my husband does say that he often feels very negative when he wakes up  - about himself and about the day.....and sometimes he can get himself out of it by remembering

to have a day of joy by living out of my heart.

And sometimes he can't. Like the rest of us.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Diamond Day

Tonight in our Deeksha Meditation circle we are invited to think of all the things to be grateful for in our lives....

Just thinking back through my diamond day, and remembering each dearly beloved one who has touched and held and nourished me, made me laugh and cry, I feel like a big soft ball of dough enriched with currants and custard and cinnamon, bubbling with yeast, rising to the top of the tin - waiting to be baked...

And discovering that gratitude only needs to last a moment but if you gather up all those moments you could have a lifetime of thanks, a lifetime of love to share....

Rumi says it like this - 

You wander from room to room hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Circles of Love & Winter Dread

This morning I clear melting ice from the car windscreen and drive into the sun along muddy Devon lanes, spattered with fallen beech leaves, oak leaves....bronze and gold towers lining the road...... filtering heather blue sky. I'm taking with me the parcel of my fear - to unwrap it, to uncover its roots in the gentle loving space of a Family Constellation session.

It's there that I encounter the tangle of my mother, her mother and her mother's mother - the diamond necklace of my female tribe....and the men they loved...

By the end I feel lighter and stronger, less grief stricken....released from the pull of their stories....unhooked from mine. I don't know if I'm less fearful now but I like having this access to the network of my ancestors......completing, enriching  the circles of love I already have in place in my life...

My husband  has someone to help him with the allotment today - he comes back with knobbly bags full of mud-caked carrots and beetroots and creamy white Jerusalem artichokes.....lighter bags of spinach and chard and the last of the slug nibbled cabbages. We share the washing and scrubbing and leave the roots to drain in the sink.  I roast some artichokes for supper but not too many because of their windy properties......

With the dark closing in so early now I feel a pressure to get everything done in the daylight.....and of course I don't....rain is hitting the window now..... the air in the room is cooling rapidly.....feel the dread of winter stroking my skin.....

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Still Shining Behind The Clouds

I wake early and start cleaning -  the taps, the kettle, the loo. I chop tomatoes and cucumber, wash the lettuce for lunch. Would be better if I sat and meditated.... or prayed..... to quiet my churning head, but my moving hands seem to know what's best. My husband sleeps on till the sun creeps through the blinds.

My sister arrives with her big warm smile and I feel immediately soothed, stronger. She drives us to the court. At the security check-in they confiscate my husband's Swiss Army pen knife - the blade is too long for safety - but they let us take it back to the car.

Our lovely lawyer sits with us in an interview room and explains what will happen. He says we have a listening, courteous and fair judge on the bench today.  When I ask if I can sit with my husband in the court to explain anything he may not understand, he says no. He says the judge will want to know why and he doesn't want to bring up my husband's medical condition as it isn't relevant to the speeding charge. I trust him completely -  to me this court world is like an ocean of dangerous and harmless fishes but he knows how to navigate between them, how to sweeten them, how to use them. We wait nearly an hour.

The hardest part is when my husband goes through one door and down the steps into the court room and my sister and I go through another door into the public gallery and I look down and see the back of his head behind the glass panel and he looks small and young and alone.

The judge asks him to say his name and address and if he's pleading guilty or not guilty. My husband says it so quietly he has to repeat it. Then lovely lawyer says his piece and shows the photograph from the police camera of my husband in his red car overtaking a white van in the nearside lane of the dual carriageway. He says he can't explain why his client was going that fast -  73mph in a 40mph limit -  but he's very sorry and he has a clean licence and he's early retired...... and some other stuff we can't hear.

Then it's over. The judge says Disqualified from driving for one week, £200 pound fine, £85 court costs and £20 for something else. I can hardly believe it. Smiles break out like a rash of sunshine.

Celebrating with our habitual Carluccios' hot chocolate and lemon tarts is off the cards (now that I'm watching my weight) so we go home and tuck into hot smoked salmon fillets and the salad I prepared this morning when the world felt like a much harsher, scarier place. 

Much later I celebrate again - crack open five fresh walnuts -  and think a lot about how I could avoid all this stress, this wild imagining, which eats into my bones, greys my hair and freezes my love. How can I dilute my fear with trust... how can I  remember to breathe one breath at a time when it feels as if the sun has been killed instead of just waiting, still shining behind the clouds?

Monday, 11 November 2013


Moments ......

Today I sink..... into the depths of a cold candle peters out when my eyes are closed this morning, trying to mind takes flight......and the tears keep running.....

Lovely stretches and hugs in my yoga class......but my eyes are wobbly....

A bowl of hot left-overs from last night's supper - store cupboard rice and leeks and sweetcorn.  We are supposed to take my husband's aunty to hospital but her bed is cancelled. He says, 

I'm going for a drive - it's the last time I'll be able to.

We are going to court tomorrow. We know he'll be banned from driving  - just not how long for. Probably why I'm so watery....

The loo is smelling -  however much I clean it. I email our lovely plumber but he has gone to Lesotho  to lay water pipes.

I keep the heating down low till my fingers are blue, even with a wooly coat on and I can't bear it any more. I turn it up - don't know why I'm trying to save money on the fuel bills but not on food. 

I'm shocked when I stand on the scales and see how much weight I've gained. I drink vegetable bouillion instead of tea and freeze the flapjacks.

Notice how the fear knotting my stomach about tomorrow makes me mean and punishing.

 Tonight I watch the TV news and see the horror, the wasteland, the loss on the islands in the Phillipines after the typhoon...the three brothers , young men deranged with grief whose mother lies dead under the coconut trees, their father says, I'm hopeless, everything is gone.

Then  I feel the smallness of my complaints......and a sudden gratitude for tomorrow -  whatever it brings.